By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Panasonic last night announced its sponsorship of the Australian Museum. The manufacturer was joined by open-water swimmer Ky Hurst at the launch, which recognised Panasonic as the Australian Museum’s Leading Scientific Research Sponsor.

Speaking at the event last night, Panasonic managing director Steve Rust said that the sponsor will be providing finances and hardware to the museum’s scientists. He singled out the Toughbook for special mention, citing its ability to withstand rugged conditions and inclement weather as examples of how this deal will be of tangible benefit to the museum.

In his speech to museum staff and guests, Rust reprised the Panasonic mantra, “Ideas for life,” as being central to this agreement. “At Panasonic, [the] philosophy of improving quality of life is foremost,” said Rust.

Here Rust is referring to the ecological and environmental research that Panasonic will be co-funding under this deal. Aside from the Toughbook, Panasonic will also be furnishing the museum with digital cameras, camcorders, VIERA flat panel TVs, data projectors, interactive whiteboards and copiers.

Another Panasonic benefactor, Ky Hurst, was at the event. Hurst is currently in final preparations to represent Australia in open-water swimming at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“I’m very excited to be a part of this; it’s an honour and a privilege,” said Hurst. “It’s something that’s very close to me and what Panasonic and the Australian Museum is doing is remarkable. [I want] to get behind it to ensure its future.” (sic)

When asked about Australia’s medal prospects at the upcoming Olympics, Hurst predicted that Australia would win over 20 Gold Medals, which would be a national record.